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Unwritten 'rules' of Mountain Biking

Updated: Jun 10, 2020

Maybe these are things that should be remembered rather than another set of rules. But there's alot of unwritten rules in our sport. Like, don't wear Lycra, don't farmer blow when you have a buddy drafting you on a flat section. Anyway. These are things I live by. Your unwritten rules will be different for sure, but check these out.


1) Hesitation is the mother of all fuckups (aka HITMOAFU): Or, for the curse averse "Hesitation is the mother of all vertical fornications". In mountain biking, there is no better fundamental rule. If you hesitate on a technical section, you will crash. My advice here is heed your hesitation before you can't bail. Either walk it or scope it out your line, do several run-ups, then come at it with speed.


2) Speed is your friend on technical sections. Nothing is more true here. If you see a little rock garden with jagged rocks and roots, your best bet is to pick a line and get off the brakes.


3) Know your bike

a. Fix a flat: even if you run a tubeless setup, it can completely fail on the trail. Always carry a tube and know how to put it on.

b. Fix a broken chain: this is more common than you think and it takes some time to master. Shimano and SRAM have different setup's so understand the one you have.

c. Derailleur hanger replacement: These wonderful devices protect your frame and 200.00 derailleur because it treats it as an add-on. Meaning, this little adapter will fail before your frame or that derailleur does. Know how to put on and take it off.


4) Music on the trail or no music- I listen to music on the trail, but I ride with only 1 earphone in- usually the right side. In this way, I can still hear people around me and feel motivated by my tunes at the same time.

a. On this topic, using a bike speaker Is not common, but if you go this route, be considerate of other riders. Most came up to the mountains to hear nature, not your Spotify Top 40. A low hum is probably the best course of action.


5) Live to ride another day: I'm an intermediate rider and you'll find me walking certain technical sections. I do this because in my mid-40's, I don't heal as quickly and frankly, I know even a minor injury may have me off the bike for weeks, even months. There is NO shame in walking sections you see other riders ride.

a. On that note, don't always avoid those technical sections. Sometimes you have to try and you only get better when you challenge yourself. Work your way up, but don't always skip the seemingly impossible.


These are just a few of things I've read and experienced. What do you think?


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